Sometimes, children set goals for themselves that are higher than we would. As parents, we may wonder whether we should try to talk them out of their lofty ambitions. Is it better to let a child try and fail, or should we be encouraging our children to set the bar a little lower so they can be sure to get over it?
The lesson children learn from people who have achieved is that they usually set their sights high. From basketball superstar Julius Irving, who said, “Goals determine what you’re going to be,” to author C.S. Lewis, who advised, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither,” the people who have accomplished the most are the ones who have set high standards for themselves.
If your child has set a high goal, there are some ways you can help:
• Help your child break the goal down into a series of smaller, more achievable goals. Ask, “If you want to raise your grade in math so you can get on the honor roll, what would you need to do?” Then write down the steps your child would need to follow.
• Provide support when the going gets rough. Kids who have set high goals for themselves are bound to encounter some obstacles. That’s when they need a parent to say, “Keep your eyes on your goal. Getting on the honor roll is worth it.”
• Help your child see himself as successful even if he doesn’t quite meet his goal. When things don’t go as planned, you need to point out how far your child has come. “You didn’t get the A this quarter, but you got a high B. That’s a tremendous improvement and I’m proud of you.”
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